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Chunyu Kun: Motifs, Narratives, and Personas in Early Chinese Anecdotal Literature


The present article undertakes a comprehensive study of ancient Chinese anecdotal and dialogic sources on Chunyu Kun, who is presented in a variety of roles such as trickster, sophist, envoy, jester, procurer of talent for his ruler, and erudite at the so-called Jixia academy which was allegedly established in the pre-imperial state of Qi. The article outlines how certain motifs and topics were reused and, in the process, reshaped by the narrative tradition and Chunyu Kun came to serve as a stock figure in different types of discourse.

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1 Kametarō, Takigawa 瀧川龜太郎, Shiki kaichū kōshō 史記會注考證, reprint (Taipei, 1998), Chapter 126 (“Guji liezhuan” 滑稽列傳), p. 2. The translation of the title of Shiji 126 follows Chien, Szuma, Selections from Records of the Historian, trans. Hsien-yi, Yang and Yang, Gladys (Peking, 1979). For different interpretations of the word guji (also huaji) see Fansheng, Zhao 趙帆聲, Gushi yinshi 古史音釋 (Kaifeng, 1995), p. 145 . On indirect remonstrance see Schaberg, David, “Playing at Critique: Indirect Remonstrance and the Formation of Shi Identity”, in Text and Ritual in Early China, (ed.) Kern, Martin (Seattle, 2005), pp. 194225 .

2 Jiao Xun 焦循, Mengzi zhengyi 孟子正義 (Beijing, 1987), Chapter 4A.17 (“Li Lou shang” 離婁上), pp. 520–522; Chapter 6B.6 (“Gaozi xia” 告子下), pp. 829–838.

3 Wilhelm, Hellmut, “Notes on Chou Fiction”, in Transition and Permanence: Chinese History and Culture, A Festschrift in Honor of Dr. Hsiao Kung-ch’üan, (ed.) Buxbaum, David C. and Mote, Frederick W. (Hong Kong, 1972), pp. 251284 ; see pp. 252–258. For a comprehensive collection of the sources on Chunyu in the original, see Bingnan, Zhang 張秉楠, Jixia gouchen 稷下鈎沈 (Shanghai, 1991), pp. 1730 .

4 On xiaoshuo as hybrid genre of narrative illustrations and anecdotes employed in philosophical and political arguments see Schwermann, Christian, “Gattungsdynamik in der traditionellen chinesischen Literatur: Von der ‘Erläuterung’ (shuō) zur ‘Erzählung’ (xiăoshuō)”, in Was sind Genres? Nicht-abendländische Kategorisierungen von Gattungen, (ed.) Conermann, Stephan and El Hawary, Amr (Berlin, 2010), pp. 4785 .

5 Wilhelm, “Chou Fiction”, p. 252. On Jixia, see Sivin, Nathan, “The Myth of the Naturalists”, in Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in Ancient China: Researches and Reflections (Aldershot, 1995), IV, pp. 133 ; Meyer, Andrew, “’The Altars of the Soil and Grain Are Closer than Kin’ 社稷戚於親: The Qi 齊 Model of Intellectual Participation and the Jixia 稷下 Patronage Community”, Early China 33–34 (2010–2011), pp. 3799 ; Weingarten, Oliver, “Debates around Jixia: Argument and Intertextuality in Warring States Writings Associated with Qi”, Journal of the American Oriental Society 135.2 (2015), pp. 283308 .

6 The distinction between history and fiction as one based on factual veracity is a vexed issue in the context of early China. Uses of historical examples were often rhetorically motivated. Goldin, Paul R., “Appeals to History in Early Chinese Philosophy and Rhetoric”, Journal of Chinese Philosophy 35.1 (2008), p. 80 , has argued that “our notion of illegitimately ‘distorting’ the past would have been quite alien to the early Chinese intellectual world”. Schaberg, David, “Chinese History and Philosophy”, in The Oxford History of Historical Writing, Vol. 1: Beginnings to AD 600, (ed.) Feldherr, Andrew and Hardy, Grant (Oxford, 2011), pp. 395398 , notes the early Chinese predilection for short, striking narratives with a didactic aim, which were often remoulded in order to suit changing rhetorical and political purposes, their facticity being but a secondary concern.

7 In addition to the work by Goldin and Schaberg quoted in the previous footnote, see also van Els, Paul, “Tilting Vessels and Collapsing Walls: On the Rhetorical Function of Anecdotes in Early Chinese Texts”, Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident 34 (2012), pp. 141166 , and Baccini, Giulia, “Narrative Variation and Motif Adaptation in Ancient Chinese Anecdotal Lore: A Perspective on the Bird-gift Story in Early and Early Medieval Chinese Sources”, Archiv orientální 82.2 (2014), pp. 297315 . Baccini discusses a ‘tale-type’ which, in one version, features Chunyu Kun as the main character (see below).

8 Schaberg, “Chinese History and Philosophy”, p. 398. On historiography as a primarily didactic exercise, see Vogelsang, Kai, “Some Notions of Historical Judgment in China and the West”, in Historical Truth, Historical Criticism and Ideology: Chinese Historiography and Historical Culture from a New Comparative Perspective, (ed.) Schmidt-Glintzer, Helwig, Mittag, Achim, and Rüsen, Jörn (Leiden, 2005), pp. 143175 .

9 Hanshu 漢書 (Beijing, 1962), Chapter 20 (“Gu jin ren biao” 古今人表), p. 861; Chunyu Kun's entry is in Hanshu, Chapter 20, p. 945.

10 For a case study along similar lines, see Weingarten, “The Figure of Yan Zhuoju 顏涿聚 in Ancient Chinese Literature”, Monumenta Serica 63.2 (2015), pp. 229261 .

11 Mu, Qian 錢穆, Xianqin zhuzi xinian 先秦諸子繫年 (Taipei, 1999 [1935]), Chapter 118 (“Chunyu Kun kao” 湻于髡考); reign dates are from Loewe, Michael and Shaughnessy, Edward L., (ed.), The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C. (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 2529 .

12 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 46 (“Tian Jingzhong Wan shijia” 田敬仲完世家), p. 31. For the idea that this narrative might be “an earlier and more elaborated version” of the encounter between Meng and the king as recorded in Mengzi, Chapter 1A.1 (“Liang Hui wang shang” 梁惠王上), see Hunter, Michael, “Did Mencius Know the Analects?”, T'oung Pao 100.1–3 (2014), p. 68 .

13 See Zhang, Jixia gouchen, “Introduction”, p. 1.

14 Sivin, “The Myth of the Naturalists”; Meyer, “Altars of the Soil and Grain”.

15 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 44 (“Wei shijia” 魏世家), p. 21. This is supposed to have happened in the 35th year of King Hui's reign who, it appears, only ruled for 25 years at most. The chronological contradictions created by this report are discussed in the commentaries to the Shiji passage.

16 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 74 (“Mengzi Xun Qing liezhuan” 孟子荀卿列傳), p. 10–11; cf. Hui, Huang 黃暉, Lunheng jiaoshi 論衡校釋 (Beijing, 1996), Chapter 79 (“Zhi shi” 知實), p. 1098. On the Jixia gentlemen's refusal to accept official posts see Bai Xi 白奚, Jixiaxue yanjiu: Zhongguo gudai de sixiang ziyou yu baijia zhengming 稷下學研究 : 中國古代思想自由與百家爭鳴 (Beijing, 1998), pp. 56 and 159.

17 Qiyou, Chen 陳奇猷, Lüshi chunqiu xin jiaoshi 呂氏春秋新校釋 (Shanghai, 2002), Chapter 18.4 (“Li wei” 離謂), p. 1188; Knoblock, John and Riegel, Jeffrey, The Annals of Lü Buwei: A Complete Translation and Study (Stanford, 2000), pp. 455456 . On this episode see below.

18 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, p. 2. On the meaning of zhuixu see the commentary, on this passage, and Wilhelm, “Notes on Chou Fiction”, p. 265 n. 29. Further discussions on the term are summarised in Xuxia, Wang 王緒霞, “Chunyu Kun sixiang kaolun” 淳于髡思想考論, Xueshu jie 學術界 183 (2013), p. 184 ; Pei Dengfeng 裴登峰, “Mengzi yu Chunyu Kun jiaowang kao” 孟子與淳于髡交往考, Xibei minzu xueyuan xuebao 西北民族學院學報 (zhexue shehui kexue ban 哲學社會科學版) 2003.2, p. 66.

19 See Hulsewé, A.F.P., Remnants of Qin Law: An Annotated Translation of the Ch'in Legal and Administrative Rules of the 3rd Century B.C. Discovered in Yün-meng Prefecture, Hu-pei Province, in 1975 (Leiden, 1985), pp. 208, 209–210, for translations of the statues and p. 209 n. 12, on the meaning of zhuixu. This interpretation is based on an explanation by the Japanese scholar Niida Noboru 仁井田陞 who, in turn, bases himself on investigations by Qing scholars.

20 Wang, “Chunyu Kun sixiang kaolun”, p. 185, considers the Wei statutes to be a reflection of the lowly status of zhuixu in late Warring States China and concludes that they were part of a larger group of people who were trying to enjoy benefits without working for them, which might be taking the formulaic language of the statutes a bit too literally. The general conclusion that they were a group of low or even ill repute, however, certainly stands.

21 Qian, Xian-Qin zhuzi xinian, Chapter 118 (“Chunyu Kun kao”). On social mobility in the Warring States see Hsu Cho-yun, Ancient China in Transition: An Analysis of Social Mobility, 722–222 B.C. (Stanford, 1965); see also Mark Edward Lewis, “Warring States Political History”, Cambridge History of Ancient China, pp. 604, 610–612 on novel paths to office, and pp. 633–634 on persuaders.

22 Note, e.g., such names as ‘Black Arse’ (Heitun 黑臋), ‘Scorpion’ (Chai 蠆), ‘Pig’ (Zhi 彘), and ‘Sheep’ (Yang 羊); see Changhong, Ji 吉常宏, Zhongguoren de mingzi biehao 中國人的名字別號 (Taipei, 1997), pp. 4748 .

23 See Wilhelm, “Notes on Chou Fiction”, p. 257. The state Chunyu is mentioned in Bojun, Yang 楊伯峻, Chunqiu Zuozhuan zhu 春秋左傳注, second edition (Beijing, 2000 [1990]), Duke Zhao 昭, year 1, p. 1201. See also the Suoyin commentary and Takigawa's notes in Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 36 (“Chen Qi shijia” 陳杞世家), p. 18. For an example of a state name used like a family name for a scion of the ruling house, see for instance the case of Han Fei 韓非; see Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 63 (“Laozi Han Fei liezhuan” 老子韓非列傳), p. 14).

24 Cai Degui 蔡德貴, “Shilun Xunzi he Chunyu Kun de shicheng guanxi” 試論荀子和淳于髡的師承關係, Qi Lu xuekan 齊魯學刊 1985.1, p. 70. The few short surviving fragments of Wangdu ji are conveniently collected in Zhang, Jixia gouchen, pp. 28–30.

25 Cai, “Shilun Xunzi he Chunyu Kun de shicheng guanxi”, pp. 71–72.

26 Wang, “Chunyu Kun sixiang kaolun”, p. 188; Wang, “Yanzi wei shi Chu kao: jian lun Yanzi chunqiu de paiyou xiaoshuo xingzhi” 晏子未使楚考─兼論《 晏子春秋》的排優小說性質, Xinxiang xueyuan xuebao 新鄉學院學報 (shehui kexue ban) 26.4 (2012), p. 79 .

27 Zugeng, Zhu 諸祖耿, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao 戰國策集注彙考, revised edition (Nanjing, 2008), Chapter 10.4 (“Mengchang jun zai Xue” 孟嘗君在薛), p. 569; cf. the almost identical passage in Chen, Lüshi chunqiu xin jiaoshi, 15.4 (“Bao geng” 報更), pp. 902–903.

28 Knoblock, John, Xunzi: A Translation and Study of the Complete Works, Volume 1: Books 1–6 (Stanford, 1988), p. 12 , gives 279 bce as the year of Tian Wen's death. It is also said that he only took possession of the domain Xue after his father's death. If one follows Qian Mu in assuming that Chunyu Kun died in 310 bce, there must have been a significant age difference between the two men.

29 Stumpfeldt, Hans, “Ein Diener vieler Herren: Einige Bemerkungen zum Yen-tzu ch'un-ch'iu”, in Und folge nun dem, was mein Herz begehrt. Festschrift für Ulrich Unger zum 70. Geburtstag, (ed.) Emmerich, Reinhard and Stumpfeldt, Hans (Hamburg, 2002), pp. 187188 and pp. 197–202, identifies this motif in Yanzi anecdotes and calls it “scolding the envoy” (Gesandtenschimpf).

30 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, p. 2. For Chunyu's mission to Chu see the Xinxu fragment in Taiping yulan 太平御覽, (ed.) Li Fang 李昉 [925–996], second ed. (Shijiazhuang, 1994), juan 437, vol. 4, p. 629.

31 Zeyu, Wu 吳則虞, Yanzi chunqiu jishi 晏子春秋集釋 (Beijing, 1982 [1962]), Chapter 6.9 (“Yanzi shi Chu Chu wei xiao men [. . .]” 晏子使楚楚為小門 [. . .]), p. 389; see Stumpfeldt, “Ein Diener vieler Herren”, p.199. For a translation see Milburn, Olivia, The Spring and Autumn Annals of Master Yan (Leiden and Boston, 2016), pp. 348349 . The body of three anecdotes about missions to Chu which, in addition to the above, also comprises Wu, Yanzi chunqiu jishi, Chapters 6.10–6.11, pp. 392–396 (see Milburn, Spring and Autumn Annals, pp. 349–350), has been critically surveyed in Wang, “Yanzi wei shi Chu kao”, p. 79. Wang marshals a number of arguments against the factual nature of these episodes, the strongest of which is probably the recurring motif of “scolding the envoy”. For more useful discussions of parallel motifs and plots see Wang, “Yanzi wei shi Chu kao” pp. 80–81.

32 Zhu, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 10.10 (“Chunyu Kun yi ri er xian qi shi yu Xuan wang” 淳于髡一日而見七士於宣王), pp. 582–583.

33 Zhu, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 10.11 (“Qi yu fa Wei” 齊欲伐魏), p. 585. The structure of this fable about a harrier chasing a hare resembles that about a mussel and a snipe in Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 30.12 (“Zhao qie fa Yan” 趙且伐燕), pp. 1631–1632. Uniquely, the animal protagonists of this fable interact verbally, unlike the hound and the hare. These two, however, bear names that are indistinguishable from human names, a unique feature in itself.

34 Zhu, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 24.6 (“Qi yu fa Wei” 齊欲伐魏), p. 1262.

35 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, p. 25. Stories with similar plot elements but different protagonists can be found in Shouyuan, Qu 屈守元, Hanshi waizhuan jianshu 韓詩外傳箋疏 (Chengdu, 1996), Chapter 10, p. 836; Zonglu, Xiang 向宗魯, Shuoyuan jiaozheng 說苑校證 (Beijing, 1987), Chapter 12 (“Feng shi” 奉使), p. 309; and in fragments of the Lulian zi 魯連子, see Zhang, Jixia gouchen, pp. 147–148. Baccini discusses the different incarnations of the story in “Narrative Variation and Motif Adaptation in Ancient Chinese Anecdotal Lore”.

36 Chen, Lüshi chunqiu xin jiaoshi, Chapter 18.4, p. 1188; Knoblock and Riegel, Annals of Lü Buwei, pp. 455-456. Cf. Shuangdi, Zhang 張雙棣, Huainan zi jiaoshi 淮南子校釋 (Beijing, 1997), Chapter 12 (“Dao ying” 道應), p. 1313.

37 A similar anecdote is found in Bojun, Yang 楊伯峻, Liezi jishi 列子集釋 (Taipei, 1987), Chapter 6 (“Li ming” 力命), pp. 201–202; see also Wilhelm, Hellmut, “Schriften und Fragmente zur Entwicklung der staatsrechtlichen Theorie der Chou-Zeit”, Monumenta Serica 12 (1947), p. 50 .

38 Zhu, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 30.3 (“Su Dai wei Yan shui Qi” 蘇代為燕說齊), pp. 1597–1598.

39 Chen, Lüshi chunqiu xin jiaoshi, Chapter 23.5 (“Yong sai” 壅塞), pp. 1579–1580; see Knoblock and Riegel, Annals of Lü Buwei, pp. 600–601. The king is the target of ridicule in this anecdote. He grandiosely proclaims that he will not hold it against Chunyu Kun if the prince should fall short of his father's qualities. It would be quite sufficient if he turned into a Yao or Shun. Wilhelm (“Notes on Chou Fiction”, p. 258) does not seem to pick up on the irony. He merely summarises the anecdote stating that the king was urging Chunyu to accept the position. It is possible that inappropriate claims by rulers were a recurring motif in discussions with tutors; see, e.g., Wu, Yanzi chunqiu jishi, Chapter 1.10 (“Jing gong chi wu zi zhi fu 景公敕五子之傅 [. . .]”), p. 37; translation in Milburn, Spring and Autumn Annals, pp. 178–179.

40 Cf. for instance the number of Confucius's close disciples which is variously given as 70, 72, and 77. Sima Qian (Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 67 [“Zhongni dizi liezhuan” 仲尼弟子列傳], p. 2) puts the number at 77; for references to other sources see Takigawa's notes. According to Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 46, p. 31, King Xuan invited 76 scholars to his court, among them Chunyu Kun. On the wider topic of numerological patterns see also Peirong, Huang 黃沛榮, “ Shiji ‘shenmi shuzi’ tanwei” 史記「神秘數字」探微, in Shiji lunwen xuanji 史記論文選集, (ed.) Peirong, Huang, second edition (Taipei, 1991), pp. 497512 .

41 Guangying, Shi 石光瑛, Xinxu jiaoshi 新序校釋 (Beijing, 2001), Chapter 2 (“Za shi er” 雜事二), pp. 201210 .

42 See Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 46, pp. 20–24. The questions in this versions are more numerous and longer. Furthermore, Chunyu Kun alone is presented as Zou Ji's adversary.

43 Yin ‘riddles’ are mentioned twice in connection with Chunyu in Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, 126.2–3. On riddles and on Chunyu Kun see Wai-yee, Li, “Riddles, Concealment, and Rhetoric in Early China”, in Facing the Monarch: Modes of Advice in the Early Chinese Court, (ed.) Olberding, Garret P.S. (Cambridge, Mass., 2013), pp. 108112 . Liu Xie 劉勰 (c. 465–c. 520) categorises Chunyu's speeches under xie 諧 ‘divertissement’, a term that signals their vulgar appeal, as the punning definition indicates: “Xie means ‘everyone’. Its style is shallow and meets popular tastes, so everyone is all joy and laughter” (諧之言皆也. 辭淺會俗, 皆悅笑也). See Shulin, Huang 黃叔琳 et al., Wenxin diaolong jiaozhu 文心雕龍校注 (Beijing, 2000), Chapter 15 (“Xie yin” 諧隱), p. 194.

44 The insertion of ci 辭 follows Shi, Xinxu jiaoshi, p. 208.

45 Knechtges, David, “ Hsin hsü ”, in Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide, (ed.) Loewe, Michael (Berkeley, 1993), p. 154 .

46 The three versions are Xiang, Shuoyuan jiaozheng, Chapters 6 (“Fu en” 復恩) and 8 (“Zun gui” 尊貴), pp. 137–138, pp. 201–202, and Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, pp. 3–4. These versions may represent entirely different lines of transmission. The initial date suggests that Shuoyuan 8 is based on some form of annalistic chronicle. The versions of the harvest prayer recited by Chunyu Kun in both Shuoyuan chapters resemble each other more closely than the one in Shiji, which is phrased in an entirely different manner. There are, however, also significant dissimilarities between the Shuoyuan versions, which both appear truncated. Only the plot of the Shiji version seems complete and makes sense in its entirety.

47 Schaberg, “Playing at Critique”, p. 216.

48 On this speech, see the discussion by Li, “Riddles, Concealment, and Rhetoric”, pp. 110–112.

49 There are at least four narratives in Yanzi chunqiu in which Yanzi tries to stop rulers from drinking too much: Wu, Yanzi chunqiu jiaoshi, Chapters 1.2–1.5, pp. 6–12. See the translation in Milburn, Spring and Autumn Annals of Master Yan, pp. 165–171.

50 The part of Shiji 126 that is devoted to Chunyu Kun – except for Chu Shaosun's additions – is placed at the beginning of the chapter (Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, pp. 2–6).

51 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, pp. 2–3.

52 For a discussion of this anecdote see Schaberg, “Playing at Critique”, pp. 204–206; for references to the parallel versions see, p. 223 n. 55. Cf. also Li, “Riddles, Concealment, and Rhetoric”, pp. 105–107.

53 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 74, pp. 10–11.

54 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 47, “Kongzi shijia”, p. 51.

55 Chunyu Kun's speech is recorded in Xiang, Shuoyuan jiaozheng, Chapter 8, p. 190; Wang Dou's in Zhu, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 11.6 (“Xiansheng Wang Dou zao men er yu jian Qi Xuan wang” 先生王斗造門而欲見齊宣王), pp. 616–617; Luzhong Lian's ibid., 11.3, pp. 603–604.

56 For a discussion of the entire body of interrelated speeches and references to scholarship on Jixia, see Weingarten, “Debates around Jixia”.

57 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 126, p. 2. Sima Qian's reference to Chunyu's height could be influenced by the Xinxu fragment in which he brags about his “seven-foot sword”; see fn. 30. For comparison, the chancellor Zou Ji, who is expressly described as a man of imposing stature was said to have been eight feet tall; see Zhu, Zhanguo ce jizhu huikao, Chapter 8.12 (“Zou Ji xiu ba chi you yu” 鄒忌脩八尺有餘), p. 507. That would be approximately 185 cm ( Wilkinson, Endymion, Chinese History: A Manual, revised edition [Cambridge, Mass., 2000], p. 238 Table 18). Confucius was repeatedly described as being nine feet tall (ca. 208 cm), a physiognomic manifestation of his extraordinary status as a sage.

58 Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 74, p. 10.

59 Huang, Lunheng jiaoshi, Chapter 79, 1098–1099.

60 See the discussion in Weingarten, “Debates around Jixia”.

61 Jiao, Mengzi zhengyi, 4A.17, pp. 520–522.

62 Lau, D. C., “On Mencius’ Use of the Method of Analogy in Argument”, in Mencius (London, 2003 [1970]), pp. 200229 , see pp. 208–214; reprinted from Asia Major (N.S.) 10 (1963), pp. 173–194.

63 According to Meng's Shiji biography, he first went to Qi and only afterwards to Liang. This sequence of events is contradicted by Mengzi. According to D. C. Lau, the discrepancy is due to Sima Qian's confusion about the correct chronology of the rulers of Liang (Mencius, 168–169).

64 Qu, Hanshi waizhuan jianshu, p. 548.

65 Xiren, Fu 傅錫壬, Xinyi Chuci duben 新譯楚辭讀本, 3rd edition (Taipei, 2011), “Yu fu”, p. 161 .

66 Jiao, Mengzi zhengyi, 6B.6, p. 829.

67 Jiao, Mengzi zhengyi, 6B.6, p. 830.

68 Jiao, Mengzi zhengyi, 6B.6, p. 834.

69 Qu, Hanshi waizhuan jianshu, p. 548.

70 Jiao, Mengzi zhengyi, 830. In more general terms, Huainan zi states that “Duke Ai was fond of Ru and [his territory] was carved up” 哀公好儒而削 (Zhang, Huainan zi jiaoshi, Chapter 18 [“Ren jian xun” 人間訓], 1916). As the context demonstrates, however, the actual point here is that benevolent political attitudes can be detrimental in violent times.

71 See Takigawa, Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 44, p. 21, on Liang and Shiki kaichū kōshō, Chapter 46, p. 31, on Jixia.

72 Zhang, Jixia gouchen, 17.

I would like to thank Matthias Richter and Paul R. Goldin as well as the two anonymous reviewers for their comments and corrections. All remaining shortcomings are my sole responsibility.

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